UTICA, NY - The Go the Distance Team of 2015 is official! Meet the team.
Megan Merrell has big dreams. She wants to travel the country to compete in various 10K and 15K races, but achieving that goal starts with one step. Or in this case, 9.3 miles. Megan has completed the Boilermaker 5K in the past and looks forward to participating in the best 15K in America. For the past three years, Megan placed a strong focus on herself. She is committed to personal growth and professional development. She says the Go The Distance team is the push she needs to get her to the finish line in all aspects of her life.
Erica Hutchins is a mom of a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old. But before her dreams came true in the delivery room, Erica wanted to be an Olympian. She spent morning, noon and night thinking about and riding horses. Erica hasn’t been on a horse in 20 years. Over the last two decades, she has put everyone before herself. When a former classmate died of cancer Erica realized life is too short. Erica says she feels ashamed of her health status and wants to go down a different path. Erica recalls a video of the USA Swim team dancing and singing together and hopes she can find that with her new teammates. Based on past GTD experiences, we can tell her that that’s a real good possibility! First the boilermaker, then back in the saddle for Erica.
At just 10-Years-Old, Kaitlyn Amarasinghe is ready to take to the hills of the 9.3 mile Boilermaker course. It is our prediction that Kaitlyn is about to embark on a successful running career. She tackled the American Heart Association’s 10 mile run back in March. The Boilermaker is next on her list. Kaitlyn’s father, Romesh Amarasinghe, is a 2013 Go The Distance Alumnus. While this is not the Heart Run, Kaitlyn says when she runs, she will always run in honor and memory of her grandfathers and for all other dealing with heart disease.
Bill Rosecrants’ dad was one of the original members of the Boilermaker Road Race committee when it was formed in 1978. His dad died in 1998 and ever since then, Bill thought about running the race for his dad. Fast forward almost 20 years and he finally has the opportunity. Bill, a longtime volunteer of the race, has never tried running until now. He says he will be happy to complete one mile. The Go The Distance team is determined to get him through all 9.3 miles of the course.
Janet Jury is the New Visions teacher at Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES. She helps dozens of students, every year, take the first steps in their careers. With Go The Distance, her role will be reversed. Janet has a vision to finish the Boilermaker and we are here to help. Janet is a mother of four and sees retirement looming. As she turns 55 years old this year, she would like to kick her walking routine into high gear.
Les Dunlap wants to leave the sidelines of the Boilermaker and enter the big race. His wife, son and sister ran their first Boilermakers in 2012 and caught the running bug. His Daughter and her boyfriend ran last year. Les wants to follow in their footsteps. After several knee surgeries, Les is finally ready to hit the pavement. He says he doesn’t want to hold his family back. Les is looking for a team to support him so he can surprise his family when he crosses the finish line. The Go The Distance team is here to help.
Zachary Lenczewski is a 15-year-old who was diagnosed with autism at a young age. Zachary uses running as an outlet when he is feeling overwhelmed in difficult situations. Zachary wants to show others and his friends that you can accomplish anything even though you have a disability. Crossing the finish line will be a source of pride for this 15-year-old. He says being different is awesome, normal is boring. After two years of waiting, Zachary says it’s time to Go The Distance.
Michael Sportello is disabled after fighting for his country. This veteran says if he doesn’t get himself back in shape, he will die young. Michael has a goal of crossing the Boilermaker finish line while at the same time, shedding 40 pounds. Michael wants to do this for himself, for all veterans and for the active military. Michael has the drive to learn how to run he just needs a kick. The Go The Distance team will push him to the finish line if it has to.
Amy Rizzuto turns 40 this year and since this is a milestone year for her, she is determined to cross goals off her to-do list. The Boilermaker road race is one of those goals. Amy is a kindergarten teacher who is surrounded by 20 children all day. She wants to show her kids that anything is possible. And since she is a teacher to five and six-year-olds, Amy submitted a rhyme to convince our committee to pick her for the 2015 GTD team.
Sarah Young used to weigh 300 pounds. After two and a half years of shedding the excess weight, she wants her son to see her achieve her goal of crossing the Boilermaker finish line. But she says her story isn’t about weight loss. Last year, Sarah lost her husband. He passed away, unexpectedly, at just 29 years old. Sarah’s New Year’s resolution is to embrace change and make her own future. Life gave her lemons and the Go The Distance team will help her make lemonade.